Mason City Globe-Gazette

Mason City, IA

15 Nov 1944





S.Sgt Betels of Buffalo Center Listed

(Iowa Daily Press War Correspondent)

With the 5th Army in Italy (IDPA) - Lt. Gen. Mark Clark's, 5th army headquarters in Italy has announced awards of decorations, a promotion and 30-day furlough for these Iowans:

Silver Star: Staff Sgt. William C. North, Des Moines; Staff Sgt. Phillip J. Dominick and Staff Sgt. Cyril W. Groetken, both of Le Mars

Bronze Star: Capt. William C. Goenne, Davenport; Staff Sgt. Thomas A. Green, Pocahontas; Staff Sgt. Alfe J. Betels, Buffalo Center; Sgt. Albert A. Konrad, Lacona; Staff Sgt. Theodore R. Leafston, Sioux City.

2nd Lieut from Technical Sgt. - Clifton P. Spears, Toledo

Furloughs - Cpt. Paul E. Bresan, Council Bluffs; Pfc. Chester R. Kalar, Latimer.

North found a German communication wire, cut it, waited in ambush for enemies to come to repair it, overpowered a nazi officer who approached and took position maps from him which Americans used to good advantage.

Dominick leading a patrol when it was fired upon by a German machine gun, left his men, worked himself into position from which he rushed the attackers and took 4 prisoners.

Groetken with a squad clearing a building of enemies was wounded in the right arm by a machine pistol but contacted the follow-up squad and directed its fire until the mission was accomplished.

Goenne drove his jeep under heavy fire to pick up and return to safety wounded soldiers of 2 disabled American tanks.

Green led five men over extremely mountainous and wooded country under intense artillery, mortar and machine gun fire, laying telephone wire to a front line unit. His comrades also were decorated.

Betels volunteered to go forward to evacuate a seriously wounded soldier. Though pinned down 4 times by hostile fire, with the aid of comrades, he brought back the casualty.

Leafstone and comrades of a litter squad volunteered to go forward to evacuate a seriously wounded man. The accomplished it under heavy fire saving the soldier's life.

Spears was a platoon leader and had been a machine gunner and a squad and section leader. He was a carpenter and mason in civilian life.

Bresan, who wears the combat infantryman's badge, has a brother, Cpl. George Bresan, formerly of the 168th infantry, now in the states.

Kalar has the combat infantryman's badge.

Days and nights of heavy, steady rain with consequent deep mud and dense fog virtually had halted infantry fighting in North Italy but Bill King, of the Associated Press and I, with Pfc. Fred Cordes, of San Francisco, driving our jeep, set out to see what we could see, hear and maybe feel.

"Quiet here now," reported Sgt. Philemon Frisbie of Stanton, Mich., at a regimental supply base at which we halted shortly after mid-day show, "but some Jerry shells whistled over us and dropped in the field below just about noon. You see we are safe because we are on the opposite of a mountain form German positions some miles distant. Recently, though, 2 supply soldiers, after loading their jeep here, were killed by a burst on a road in that field. I think it was yesterday the Jerries whizzed them over for about an hour. I don't know whether they were trying to hit us or some tanks that were near us. Anyhow we kept on working."

The sergeant was an elementary school teacher before he got into the army.

"Two GI's with a jerry prisoner came tearing up here in a jeep the other day, dumped him out with us and left before we could stop them," related a sergeant at the regimental ammunition headquarters in a room of a battered building in the town.

"A corporal and I were the only ones on duty then. We were too busy to stand guard over the guy, so to make sure he'd get caught if he ran out we made him take and keep off his pants until MPs we an Iowan, called.

Two GI's on duty at another place -- one a Georgian, the other a Minnesotan--were good naturedly arguing the Civil war when King, a South Carolinian, and I, an Iowan called.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, November 15, 1944

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